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Michael Tjernström
,
Matthew D. Shupe
,
Ian M. Brooks
,
Peggy Achtert
,
John Prytherch
, and
Joseph Sedlar

Abstract

During the Arctic Clouds in Summer Experiment (ACSE) in summer 2014 a weeklong period of warm-air advection over melting sea ice, with the formation of a strong surface temperature inversion and dense fog, was observed. Based on an analysis of the surface energy budget, we formulated the hypothesis that, because of the airmass transformation, additional surface heating occurs during warm-air intrusions in a zone near the ice edge. To test this hypothesis, we explore all cases with surface inversions occurring during ACSE and then characterize the inversions in detail. We find that they always occur with advection from the south and are associated with subsidence. Analyzing only inversion cases over sea ice, we find two categories: one with increasing moisture in the inversion and one with constant or decreasing moisture with height. During surface inversions with increasing moisture with height, an extra 10–25 W m−2 of surface heating was observed, compared to cases without surface inversions; the surface turbulent heat flux was the largest single term. Cases with less moisture in the inversion were often cloud free and the extra solar radiation plus the turbulent surface heat flux caused by the inversion was roughly balanced by the loss of net longwave radiation.

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Georgia Sotiropoulou
,
Michael Tjernström
,
Joseph Sedlar
,
Peggy Achtert
,
Barbara J. Brooks
,
Ian M. Brooks
,
P. Ola G. Persson
,
John Prytherch
,
Dominic J. Salisbury
,
Matthew D. Shupe
,
Paul E. Johnston
, and
Dan Wolfe

Abstract

The Arctic Clouds in Summer Experiment (ACSE) was conducted during summer and early autumn 2014, providing a detailed view of the seasonal transition from ice melt into freeze-up. Measurements were taken over both ice-free and ice-covered surfaces near the ice edge, offering insight into the role of the surface state in shaping the atmospheric conditions. The initiation of the autumn freeze-up was related to a change in air mass, rather than to changes in solar radiation alone; the lower atmosphere cooled abruptly, leading to a surface heat loss. During melt season, strong surface inversions persisted over the ice, while elevated inversions were more frequent over open water. These differences disappeared during autumn freeze-up, when elevated inversions persisted over both ice-free and ice-covered conditions. These results are in contrast to previous studies that found a well-mixed boundary layer persisting in summer and an increased frequency of surface-based inversions in autumn, suggesting that knowledge derived from measurements taken within the pan-Arctic area and on the central ice pack does not necessarily apply closer to the ice edge. This study offers an insight into the atmospheric processes that occur during a crucial period of the year; understanding and accurately modeling these processes is essential for the improvement of ice-extent predictions and future Arctic climate projections.

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